Child labour is a complex phenomenon which cuts across policy and market boundaries.

Child labour is work carried out to the detriment and endangerment of a child, in violation of international law and national legislation. It either deprives children of schooling or requires them to assume the dual burden of schooling and work. It to be eliminated is a subset of children in employment.


Child labour includes

  • All “unconditional” worst forms of child labour, such as slavery or practices similar to slavery, the use of a child for prostitution or for illicit activities;

  • Work done by children under the minimum legal age for that type of work, as defined by national legislation in accordance with international standards.

It is clear that the persistence of child labour is systematically undermining progress. Child labour is not a phenomenon that can be dealt with in isolation; it is both a cause and consequence of poverty and low levels of social protection. Evidence has shown that targeted action which simultaneously addresses the implementation and enforcement of protective legislation, provision and accessibility of public services (including free, quality compulsory education, training and non-discriminatory social protection services), and the functioning of labour markets, yields high returns against child labour, including its worst forms. These issues are part of the development debate that involves prominent global actors (Governments, Employers’ and Workers’ Organizations), international institutions as well as Ministries of Education, local governments and municipalities.

Source: United Nations